Word of The Year: Should It Be Unfriend Or Defriend?

Editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary Tuesday selected "unfriend" as its word of the year. A senior lexicographer said that the Facebook term has real "lex appeal." But the decision by the dictionary sparked some debate on Facebook as well as other social networks, such as Twitter, as to whether or not the word of 2009 should be "defriend."

Reactions on Twitter were mixed, ranging from the benign to the more impassioned.

One user tweeted, "I tend to go with 'defriend', but I'll accept the OED's verdict." Other users also took umbrage with the New Oxford American Dictionary's choice, arguing for "defriend" in a number of different ways.

One such user questioned just how with it the dictionary is, despite its attempt to capture the current cultural zeitgeist by tapping into Facebook's popularity.

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"Oxford Press is really out of the loop. 'Unfriend?' That's their new word? It's DE-friend. Defriend...,"one tweeted.

According to the dictionary's editors, the choices for the 2009 word of the year had been whittled down to a short list of terms, ranging from technological to social. "Sexting," "hashtag," "intexticated," "netbook" and "paywall" were all up for consideration as well, alongside economic terms like "funemployed" and environmental buzzwords like "green state."

Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world, which could contribute to the New Oxford Dictionary's choice to look there for its word of the year. The social network surpassed MySpace as the world's most popular in June 2008.